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1.  Associations of Urine Excretion of Isoflavonoids with Cognition in Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Isoflavone Soy Health Clinical Trial 
Results from randomized trials of soy supplements on cognition in postmenopausal women are equivocal. We sought to determine associations of change in urine excretion of isoflavonoids on cognitive change.
Post hoc analysis of isoflavonoid exposures (mean 2.7 years) during the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind Women’s Isoflavone Soy Health trial.
General community.
350 healthy postmenopausal women.
25 g of isoflavone-rich soy protein (91 mg of aglycone weight isoflavones: 52 mg genistein, 36 mg daidzein, 3 mg glycitein) or milk protein-matched placebo, provided daily.
Overnight urine excretion and fasting plasma levels of isoflavonoids, and cognitive function, measured at baseline and endpoint.
300 women (mean age = 61 years, range 45-92 years) completed both cognitive assessments and did not use hormone replacement therapy during the trial. Mean on-trial change from baseline in urine excretion of isoflavonoids was not significantly associated with change in a composite score of global cognition (p=0.39). Secondary analyses indicated that change in urine excretion of isoflavonoids was inversely associated with change in a factor score representing general intelligence (p=0.02), but not with factor scores representing verbal or visual episodic memory. Mean differences in this general intelligence factor score among women in the first compared to highest quartile of isoflavonoid change are equivalent to an approximate 4.4 year age-associated decline. Analyses based on plasma isoflavonoid levels yielded similar but attenuated results.
Among healthy postmenopausal women, long-term changes in isoflavonoids are not associated with global cognition, supporting clinical trial results. Increasing isoflavonoid exposure from dietary supplements is, however, associated with decrements in general intelligence but not memory; this finding requires confirmation in future studies.
PMCID: PMC4226524  PMID: 24617349
Cognition; isoflavones; menopause; soy; women’s health
3.  Retinal Microvascular Abnormalities and Cognitive Function in Latino Adults in Los Angeles 
Ophthalmic epidemiology  2012;19(3):127-136.
Retinal vessels may provide a readily accessible surrogate approach to study vascular disease in brain small vessels. Previous epidemiologic studies of retinal microvascular abnormalities and cognition have not included large numbers of Latinos who have a high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.
We used data from 809 elderly Latino participants in the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) to assess whether retinal vessel caliber and microvascular abnormalities are cross-sectionally associated with lower cognitive function. Cognitive screening was conducted with the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument-Short form (CASI-S) and in-depth testing with the Spanish English Neuropsychological Assessment Scales (SENAS). Retinal photographs were used to identify retinopathy signs and measure retinal vessel caliber.
A total of 65.8% had high blood pressure, 34.5% had diabetes; self-reported diagnoses of heart attack, heart failure, angina and stroke were rare. Retinal calibers and any retinopathy were not associated with the CASI-S, total SENAS or any SENAS cognitive factors assessed as continuous variables. The odds of a low CASI-S score were two times higher in subjects with generalized arteriolar narrowing (OR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.14, 3.66), and one and half times as high in those with both generalized arteriolar narrowing and retinopathy signs (OR = 1.49, 95% CI = 0.47, 4.75) though this result was based on only four cases with both risk factors and confidence limits were wide and included the null.
Retinal microvasculature imaging may provide insights into small blood vessel influences on cognition in Latino populations. Additional studies in diverse populations and prospective settings are needed.
PMCID: PMC3598630  PMID: 22568425
Epidemiology; Cognition; Retina; Latinos; Microvasculature
4.  Physical Activity and Sex Hormone Levels in Estradiol- and Placebo-Treated Postmenopausal Women 
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2011;18(10):1079-1086.
Postmenopausal changes in the hormonal milieu in women with or without hormone therapy (HT) are hypothesized to be the pathway for a number of menopause-associated modifications in physiology and disease risk. Physical activity may modify these changes in women’s hormone profiles. The crucial yet complex relationship between physical activity and physiologic and pharmacologic sex hormone levels in postmenopausal women has not been investigated sufficiently.
Using structured recall, physical activity was assessed longitudinally over two years in 194 postmenopausal women (90 randomized to daily 1 mg 17β-estradiol and 104 to placebo) in the Estrogen in the Prevention of Atherosclerosis Trial. Levels of physical activity were correlated to serum sex hormone and serum hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in each treatment group.
In placebo-treated women, total energy expenditure was positively associated with sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) (p<0.001) and inversely associated with testosterones (total, bioavailable, free) and androstenedione (p<0.001 for all), as well as with estradiol (p=0.02). In estradiol-treated women, estradiol levels were inversely associated with total energy expenditure (p=0.002) and weekly hours spent in moderate or more vigorous physical activity (p=0.001).
Physical activity is associated with lower serum levels of estradiol in both HT-treated and untreated women. In placebo-treated women only, physical activity is associated with reduced androgen levels and elevated SHBG levels.
PMCID: PMC3183237  PMID: 21646925
Physical activity; sex hormones; estradiol; menopause
5.  Antiretroviral Therapy Modifies the Genetic Effect of Known Type 2 Diabetes-Associated Risk Variants in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(12):1815-1823.
Type 2 diabetes (DM) incidence is increased in HIV-infected persons. We examined the associations of DM with known DM-risk alleles from the general population in the context of HIV infection and explored effect modification by combination antiretroviral treatment (cART).
The Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) is a prospective cohort of HIV-infected women. Seventeen European-derived DM-risk polymorphisms were genotyped in eligible WIHS participants. Analyses were run separately for non-African-Americans (Whites, Hispanics, Asians, and other; n=378, 49 with incident DM) and African-Americans (n=591, 49 with incident DM). Cox proportional hazards models were fit to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for DM overall and within strata of cART.
In non-African-Americans, heterogeneity across cART regimen was observed for 9 of 14 polymorphisms (phet<0.05). One polymorphism was statistically significantly inversely associated with DM risk among women taking 2 NRTIs+NNRTI. Five polymorphisms were statistically significantly associated with DM among women treated with ≥2 NRTIs + ≥1 PI and one polymorphism was associated with DM among those treated with ≥3 NRTIs ± NNRTI. The HR per risk allele for IGF2BP2 rs1470579 was 2.67 (95% CI 1.67–4.31) for women taking cART with ≥2 NRTIs+≥1 PI and 2.45 (95% CI 1.08–5.53) in women taking ≥3 NRTIs±NNRTI (phet=2.50×10−3). No such associations were observed in African-Americans.
Genetic susceptibility to DM, based on the variants studied, is substantially elevated among HIV-infected women using cART containing three or more NRTI/PI components. A personalized medicine approach to cART selection may be indicated for HIV-infected persons carrying these DM-risk variants.
PMCID: PMC4269472  PMID: 24932614
type 2 diabetes; genetics; HIV; women; antiretroviral therapy
6.  Tear Cathepsin S–A Candidate Biomarker for Sjögren's Syndrome 
The diagnosis of Sjögren's Syndrome (SS) in routine practice is largely a clinical one and requires a high index of suspicion by the treating physician. This great dependence upon clinical judgment frequently leads to delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Tear protein profiles have been proposed as simple and reliable biomarkers for SS diagnosis. Given that cathepsin S activity is increased in the lacrimal glands and tears of NOD mice (a murine model of SS), we explored the clinical utility of using tear cathepsin S (CTSS) activity as a biomarker for SS.
A method to measure CTSS activity in tears eluted from Schirmer's strips was developed and validated. Schirmer's tests and CTSS activity measurements were performed on 278 female subjects, including patients with SS (n=73), rheumatoid arthritis (n=79), systemic lupus erythematosus (n=40), blepharitis (n=10), non-specific dry eye (n=31), or other autoimmune diseases (n=12), along with 33 healthy controls.
Median tear CTSS activity in SS patients was 4.1-fold higher than in patients with non-SS autoimmune diseases, 2.1-fold higher than in patients with non-specific dry eye, and 41.1-fold higher than in healthy controls. Tear CTSS levels were equally elevated in primary and secondary SS independent of the Schirmer's strip values or of circulating anti-SSA or anti-SSB autoantibodies.
Markedly high levels of tear CTSS activity are suggestive of SS. CTSS activity in tears can be measured in a simple, quick, economical, and non-invasive fashion and may serve as a novel biomarker and indicator of autoimmune dacryoadenitis during the workup for SS.
PMCID: PMC4077975  PMID: 24644101
7.  Nevirapine Concentration in Hair Samples Is a Strong Predictor of Virologic Suppression in a Prospective Cohort of HIV-Infected Patients 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129100.
Effective antiretroviral (ARV) therapy depends on adequate drug exposure, yet methods to assess ARV exposure are limited. Concentrations of ARV in hair are the product of steady-state pharmacokinetics factors and longitudinal adherence. We investigated nevirapine (NVP) concentrations in hair as a predictor of treatment response in women receiving ARVs. In participants of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study, who reported NVP use for >1 month from 2003–2008, NVP concentrations in hair were measured via liquid-chromatography-tandem mass-spectrometry. The outcome was virologic suppression (plasma HIV RNA below assay threshold) at the time of hair sampling and the primary predictor was nevirapine concentration categorized into quartiles. We controlled for age, race/ethnicity, pre-treatment HIV RNA, CD4 cell count, and self-reported adherence over the 6-month visit interval (categorized ≤ 74%, 75%–94% or ≥ 95%). We also assessed the relation of NVP concentration with changes in hepatic transaminase levels via multivariate random intercept logistic regression and linear regression analyses. 271 women contributed 1089 person-visits to the analysis (median 3 of semi-annual visits). Viral suppression was least frequent in concentration quartile 1 (86/178 (48.3%)) and increased in higher quartiles (to 158/204 (77.5%) for quartile 4). The odds of viral suppression in the highest concentration quartile were 9.17 times (95% CI 3.2–26, P < 0.0001) those in the lowest. African-American race was associated with lower rates of virologic suppression independent of NVP hair concentration. NVP concentration was not significantly associated with patterns of serum transaminases. Concentration of NVP in hair was a strong independent predictor of virologic suppression in women taking NVP, stronger than self-reported adherence, but did not appear to be strongly predictive of hepatotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC4460031  PMID: 26053176
8.  Subclinical Atherosclerosis is Weakly Associated with Lower Cognitive Function in Healthy Hyperhomocysteinemic Adults without Clinical Cardiovascular Disease 
Atherosclerosis is the most common pathologic process underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is not well known whether subclinical atherosclerosis is an independent risk factor for lower cognitive function among individuals without clinically evident CVD.
We examined cross-sectional associations between subclinical atherosclerosis and cognitive function in a community-based sample of otherwise healthy adults with plasma homocysteine ≥8.5 µmol/L enrolled in the BVAIT study (n=504, mean age 61 years). Carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT), coronary (CAC) and abdominal aortic calcium (AAC) were used to measure subclinical atherosclerosis. Cognitive function was assessed with a battery of neuropsychological tests. A principal components analysis was used to extract five uncorrelated cognitive factors from scores on individual tests, and a measure of global cognition was derived. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine the association between subclinical atherosclerosis and cognitive function, adjusting for other correlates of cognition.
Increasing thickness of CIMT was associated with significantly lower scores on the verbal learning factor (β = −0.07 per 0.1 mm increase CIMT [SE(β)=0.03], p=0.01). CAC and AAC were not individually associated with any of the cognitive factors.
This study provides evidence that increasing CIMT is weakly associated with lower verbal learning abilities but not global cognition in a population of otherwise healthy middle-to-older aged adults with elevated plasma homocysteine but without clinically evident CVD. The association between CIMT and poor verbal learning may pertain particularly to men.
PMCID: PMC2661006  PMID: 18836986
cognitive function; atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; memory; verbal learning
9.  Mildly Elevated TSH and Cognition in Middle-Aged and Older Adults 
Thyroid  2009;19(2):111-117.
It is accepted that markedly elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are associated with impaired cognitive function. However, the findings regarding the association between mildly elevated TSH levels and cognition are equivocal. The objective of this study was to assess the relation between TSH levels in the normal to mildly elevated range (0.3–10.0 mIU/L) and several domains of cognitive function.
A healthy, community-based sample of 489 men and women (40–88 years old, mean = 60.5 years) enrolled in the B-Vitamin Atherosclerosis Intervention Trial were studied. A neuropsychological test battery was used to assess a broad array of cognitive functions. Four uncorrelated neuropsychological factors were extracted by principal component analysis. Using multivariable linear regression, performance on each factor was examined in relation to TSH levels, controlling for age, gender, race-ethnicity, education, homocysteine levels, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and smoking status.
TSH levels were not associated with any of the four factor scores in the total sample or in younger (age < 60) or older (age ≥ 60) subjects, although there was a trend for older subjects with higher levels of TSH to do more poorly on paragraph recall (p = 0.06). Gender-stratified analyses showed that TSH was positively associated with scores on word list learning for females only (p = 0.003).
In this community-based sample of middle-aged to older individuals, increasing TSH levels were not associated with significantly reduced cognitive performance in any domain. Further exploration of the effects of gender on the association between TSH and cognition is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2715222  PMID: 19191743
10.  Metabolic Syndrome and Cognitive Function in Healthy Middle-Aged and Older Adults without Diabetes 
Few studies have addressed whether the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its individual components are associated with cognitive function in middle-aged and older populations, as well as whether specific areas of cognition are more affected than others. We examined the cross-sectional association between MetS and six areas of cognitive function in healthy cognitively intact adults without diabetes (n = 853, mean age 61 years) randomized in two intervention trials.
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) criteria were used to identify subjects with MetS. Cognitive function was assessed with a neuropsychological battery. A principal components analysis was used to extract five uncorrelated factors interpreted to represent five areas of cognition, and a measure of global cognition was calculated.
MetS was weakly but non-significantly associated with lower verbal learning (β=−.14 [SE(β) = 0.09], p = .15). As the number of MetS criteria increased, scores on global cognition (p trend = .01), verbal learning (p trend = .06) and semantic memory (p trend = .04) decreased. Hypertension was the only MetS risk factor that was independently correlated with lower verbal learning (β = −.17 [SE(β) = 0.08], p = .04), semantic memory (β = −.26 [SE(β) = 0.08], p = .001) and global cognition (β = −.15 [SE(β) = 0.07], p = .04).
This study adds to the evidence of an association between MetS and lower cognitive function among healthy middle-aged and older adults without CVD and diabetes, as well as confirms the correlation between hypertension and lower cognition.
PMCID: PMC2742696  PMID: 18608045
Metabolic syndrome; Cognitive function; Hypertension; Memory; Verbal learning; Global cognition
11.  Mildly Elevated TSH and Cognition in Middle-Aged and Older Adults 
It is accepted that markedly elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are associated with impaired cognitive function. However, the findings regarding the association between mildly elevated TSH levels and cognition are equivocal. The objective of this study was to assess the relation between TSH levels in the normal to mildly elevated range (0.3–10.0 mIU/L) and several domains of cognitive function.
A healthy, community-based sample of 489 men and women (40–88 years old, mean=60.5 years) enrolled in the B-Vitamin Atherosclerosis Intervention Trial were studied. A neuropsychological test battery was used to assess a broad array of cognitive functions. Four uncorrelated neuropsychological factors were extracted by principal component analysis. Using multivariable linear regression, performance on each factor was examined in relation to TSH levels, controlling for age, gender, race-ethnicity, education, homocysteine levels, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and smoking status.
TSH levels were not associated with any of the four factor scores in the total sample or in younger (age<60) or older (age≥60) subjects, although there was a trend for older subjects with higher levels of TSH to do more poorly on paragraph recall ( p = 0.06). Gender-stratified analyses showed that TSH was positively associated with scores on word list learning for females only ( p=0.003).
In this community-based sample of middle-aged to older individuals, increasing TSH levels were not associated with significantly reduced cognitive performance in any domain. Further exploration of the effects of gender on the association between TSH and cognition is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2715222  PMID: 19191743
12.  The Effect of Prior Oophorectomy on Changes in Bone Mineral Density and Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness in Postmenopausal Women 
Fertility and sterility  2014;101(4):1117-1122.
To determine the effect of prior oophorectomy in healthy postmenopausal women on the rate of loss of bone mineral density (BMD) and rate of increase in carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT)
Secondary analysis from a randomized controlled trial
University-based research clinic
222 healthy postmenopausal women in the Greater Los Angeles Area
Baseline and annual screening of BMD and assessment of CIMT every 6 months for a total of 3 years
Main Outcome and Measure(s)
Changes in BMD and CIMT during postmenopausal years
Among women who were menopausal more than 10 years, the rate of CIMT progression was statistically significantly less in women with intact ovaries compared to prior oophorectomy. In women 5-10 years postmenopausal, there was a trend toward a slower loss of BMD in those who retained their ovaries and in women more than 10 years menopausal there was significantly less BMD loss in those who retained their ovaries.
As time from menopausal transition increases, retained ovaries are associated with a slower rate of bone loss and a slower rate of thickening of the carotid artery wall compared to rates in menopausal women with oophorectomy.
PMCID: PMC4215065  PMID: 24530156
menopause; oophorectomy; bone mineral density; intima-media thickness
13.  Echolucency of the Carotid Artery Intima‐Media Complex and Intima‐Media Thickness Have Different Cardiovascular Risk Factor Relationships: The Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Adults infected with HIV have increased atherosclerosis potentially associated with both HIV and non‐HIV associated factors. We characterized risk factors for atherosclerosis as measured by noninvasive vascular imaging.
Methods and Results
We used B‐mode ultrasound to examine levels and correlates of echogenicity and vessel wall thickness of the carotid artery intima‐media complex in 1282 HIV‐infected and 510 HIV‐uninfected women of the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Levels of gray scale median (GSM, a measure of echogenicity) did not vary between HIV infection groups. In both groups, smokers had increased GSM, whereas age, diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and high BMI were associated with lower (rather than higher) GSM. Each of these non‐lipid CVD risk factors, especially age and blood pressure, was also associated with higher levels of carotid artery intima‐media thickness (cIMT). Higher serum triglyceride levels were associated with lower GSM in both HIV‐infected and HIV‐uninfected groups. Additional lipid risk factors for low GSM including high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol levels were identified in HIV uninfected but not in HIV infected women. In contrast to findings for GSM, among the lipid parameters only LDL cholesterol level had an association with cIMT, which was observed only in the HIV uninfected group.
Lipid and non‐lipid risk factor associations with echolucency of the carotid artery and the thickness of the common carotid artery intima‐media layer suggest that these measures capture different aspects of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4345869  PMID: 25699995
carotid arteries; epidemiology; immune system; risk factors; ultrasonics
14.  Components of Air Pollution and Cognitive Function in Middle-aged and Older Adults in Los Angeles 
Neurotoxicology  2013;40:1-7.
While experiments in animals demonstrate neurotoxic effects of particulate matter (PM) and ozone (O3), epidemiologic evidence is sparse regarding the relationship between different constituencies of air pollution mixtures and cognitive function in adults. We examined cross-sectional associations between various ambient air pollutants [O3, PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)] and six measures of cognitive function and global cognition among healthy, cognitively intact individuals (n=1,496, mean age 60.5 years) residing in the Los Angeles Basin. Air pollution exposures were assigned to each residential address in 2000–06 using a geographic information system that included monitoring data. A neuropsychological battery was used to assess cognitive function; a principal components analysis defined six domain-specific functions and a measure of global cognitive function was created. Regression models estimated effects of air pollutants on cognitive function, adjusting for age, gender, race, education, income, study and mood. Increasing exposure to PM2.5 was associated with lower verbal learning (β = −0.32 per 10 ug/m3 PM2.5, 95% CI = −0.63, 0.00; p = 0.05). Ambient exposure to NO2 >20 ppb tended to be associated with lower logical memory. Compared to the lowest level of exposure to ambient O3, exposure above 49 ppb was associated with lower executive function. Including carotid artery intima-media thickness, a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis, in models as a possible mediator did not attenuate effect estimates. This study provides support for cross-sectional associations between increasing levels of ambient O3, PM2.5 and NO2 and measures of domain-specific cognitive abilities.
PMCID: PMC3946571  PMID: 24148924
air pollution; cognitive dysfunction; dementia; particulate matter; ozone; verbal learning
15.  Vascular risk and Aβ interact to reduce cortical thickness in AD vulnerable brain regions 
Neurology  2014;83(1):40-47.
The objective of this study was to define whether vascular risk factors interact with β-amyloid (Aβ) in producing changes in brain structure that could underlie the increased risk of Alzheimer disease (AD).
Sixty-six cognitively normal and mildly impaired older individuals with a wide range of vascular risk factors were included in this study. The presence of Aβ was assessed using [11C]Pittsburgh compound B–PET imaging, and cortical thickness was measured using 3-tesla MRI. Vascular risk was measured with the Framingham Coronary Risk Profile Index.
Individuals with high levels of vascular risk factors have thinner frontotemporal cortex independent of Aβ. These frontotemporal regions are also affected in individuals with Aβ deposition, but the latter show additional thinning in parietal cortices. Aβ and vascular risk were found to interact in posterior (especially in parietal) brain regions, where Aβ has its greatest effect. In this way, the negative effect of Aβ in posterior regions is increased by the presence of vascular risk.
Aβ and vascular risk interact to enhance cortical thinning in posterior brain regions that are particularly vulnerable to AD. These findings give insight concerning the mechanisms whereby vascular risk increases the likelihood of developing AD and supports the therapeutic intervention of controlling vascular risk for the prevention of AD.
PMCID: PMC4114172  PMID: 24907234
16.  Preservation of Neurons of the Nucleus Basalis in Subcortical Ischemic Vascular Disease 
Archives of neurology  2012;69(7):879-886.
To compare loss of neurons in the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NB) in subcortical ischemic vascular disease (SIVD) to normal controls, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and cases with mixed AD/SIVD pathology.
Autopsied cases drawn from a longitudinal observational study with SIVD, AD and normal aging.
Pathologically defined SIVD (n = 16), AD (n = 20), mixed pathology (n = 10), and age- and education-matched normal control (n = 17) groups were studied.
Main Outcome measures
NB neuronal cell counts in each group and their correlation with the extent of MRI white matter lesions (WML) and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scores closest to death.
No significant loss of neurons was found in SIVD compared to age-matched controls in contrast to AD and mixed groups, where there was significant neuronal loss. A significant inverse correlation between NB neurons and CDR scores was found in AD, but not in the SIVD and mixed groups. NB cell counts were not correlated with either the extent of white matter lesions or cortical gray matter volume in SIVD or AD groups.
These findings inveigh against primary loss of cholinergic neurons in SIVD, but do not rule out the possibility of secondary cholinergic deficits due to disruptions of cholinergic projections to cerebral cortex.
PMCID: PMC4184885  PMID: 22393167
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2013;20(8):840-844.
To determine whether long-term isoflavone soy protein (ISP) supplementation affects endometrial thickness and rates of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer in postmenopausal women.
In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 350 postmenopausal women 45–92 years of age were randomized to a total daily dose of 154 mg of ISP or a milk protein matched placebo for a 3-year period. Women with a surgically absent uterus were excluded from the analysis (final study population: n=224). The main outcome measures were the mean change in endometrial thickness on transvaginal ultrasound from baseline until up to 36 months of follow-up; the incidence of endometrial sampling, endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial cancer.
A total of 666 visits among 224 participants were evaluated. Treatment groups did not significantly differ on the mean baseline or on-trial changes in endometrial thickness. Of the 103 placebo-treated participants, 7 (6.8%) underwent an endometrial biopsy; 6 (85.7%) of these biopsies were benign. One woman in the placebo group was diagnosed with complex endometrial hyperplasia with atypia and underwent a hysterectomy. The pathology result from this surgery was Stage IB endometrial cancer. Of the 121 participants in the soy group, 9 (7.4%) underwent an endometrial biopsy. The results were benign in all 9 cases (100%). Although the rate of hyperplasia / malignancy was higher in the placebo group (14.3% versus 0%), the difference was not statistically significant.
Three-year isoflavone soy protein (ISP) supplementation has no effect on endometrial thickness or rates of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer in postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3934100  PMID: 23422867
Isoflavones; menopause; endometrium; randomized controlled trial
18.  Cerebral Atherosclerosis is Associated with Cystic Infarcts and Microinfarcts, but not Alzheimer Pathologic Changes 
Background and Purpose
Some studies have reported associations between intracranial atherosclerosis and Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology. We aimed to correlate severity of cerebral atherosclerosis, arteriolosclerosis, and cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) with neurofibrillary tangles, neuritic plaques, and cerebral infarcts.
This autopsy study (n = 163) was drawn from a longitudinal study of subcortical ischemic vascular disease, AD, and normal aging. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to test associations among the 3 forms of cerebrovascular disease and the presence of ischemic and neurodegenerative brain lesions. Apolipoprotein E genotype was included as a covariate in these multivariable models.
Cerebral atherosclerosis was positively associated with microinfarcts (odds ratio (OR) = 2.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2–4.4) and cystic infarcts (OR = 2.0, 95%CI = 1.0–4.2), but not AD pathology. Arteriolosclerosis showed a positive correlation with lacunar infarcts (OR = 2.0, 95%CI = 1.0–4.2), but not AD pathology. CAA was inversely associated with lacunar infarcts (OR = 0.6, 95%CI = 0.41–1.1), but positively associated with Braak & Braak stage (OR = 1.5, 95%CI = 1.1–2.1) and CERAD plaque score (OR = 1.5, 95%CI = 1.1–2.2).
Microinfarcts, which have been correlated with severity of cognitive impairment, were most strongly associated with atherosclerosis. Possible pathogenetic mechanisms include artery-to-artery emboli, especially micro-emboli that may include atheroemboli or platelet-fibrin emboli. Arteriolosclerosis was positively, while CAA was negatively correlated with lacunar infarcts, which might prove helpful in clinical differentiation of arteriolosclerotic from CAA-related vascular brain injury.
PMCID: PMC4049465  PMID: 23887837
Atherosclerosis; Alzheimer; Microinfarct; Infarct
20.  The Timing Hypothesis: A Paradigm Shift in the Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in Women: Part 1, Comparison of Therapeutic Efficacy 
The long-held belief that outcome data from intervention trials in men are generalizable to women has created the framework in which the primary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) in women is viewed. However, over the past decade, data has accumulated to refute such a supposition of generalizability. These lines of evidence concern the sex-specific efficacy of CHD primary prevention therapies and timing of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) initiation according to age and/or time-since-menopause as modifiers of efficacy and risk. Although the standard primary prevention therapies of statins and aspirin reduce CHD in men, neither therapy reduce CHD, and more importantly total mortality in women under primary prevention conditions. On the other hand, HRT significantly reduces both CHD and total mortality in primary prevention when HRT is initiated in women <60 years old and/or <10 years-since-menopause. Herein, the efficacy of the commonly used therapies for the primary prevention of CHD in women, statins, aspirin and postmenopausal HRT is discussed. In part 2 of this series the comparative risks of these therapies are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3660423  PMID: 23414520
hormone therapy in women; statins; timing hypothesis; women and CHD prevention; 31 meta-analyses
21.  Birth Weight and Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness 
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;162(5):906-11.e1-2.
To determine the association between birth weight and carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT), a measure of atherogenesis, in a population of 11-year-old children.
Study design
CIMT measured by high-resolution ultrasound, and birth registry data were available for 670 children of the Southern California Children’s Health Study. Multivariate regression analyses were performed to investigate the association between birth weight and CIMT, with adjustment for child’s health status and lifestyle, pregnancy information, and parental health.
Mean CIMT was 0.57 mm (SD 0.04). We found a nonlinear association between birth weight and CIMT, with an increase in CIMT of 0.014 mm in the fifth (P value .01) compared with the third birth weight quintile. These associations were robust in subsample analyses in children considered normal-weight by gestational age or in term-born children. No significant association with CIMT was found for the lowest quintile.
Greater birth weight was significantly associated with increased CIMT at age 11 years. No evidence for an impact of lower birth weight was found. The predictive value of childhood CIMT on future cardiovascular outcomes is largely unknown, but strong associations between childhood cardiovascular disease risk factors and adult vascular disease suggest that increased CIMT in childhood may be clinically important.
PMCID: PMC4030536  PMID: 23260106
22.  The Aging Brain and Cognition 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(4):488-495.
β-Amyloid (Aβ) deposition and vascular brain injury (VBI) frequently co-occur and are both associated with cognitive decline in aging. Determining whether a direct relationship exists between them has been challenging. We sought to understand VBI’s influence on cognition and clinical impairment, separate from and in conjunction with pathologic changes associated with Alzheimer disease (AD).
To examine the relationship between neuroimaging measures of VBI and brain Aβ deposition and their associations with cognition.
Design and Setting
A cross-sectional study in a community- and clinic-based sample recruited for elevated vascular disease risk factors.
Clinically normal (mean age, 77.1 years [N=30]), cognitively impaired (mean age, 78.0 years [N=24]), and mildly demented (mean age, 79.8 years [N=7]) participants.
Magnetic resonance imaging, Aβ (Pitts-burgh Compound B–positron emission tomographic [PiB-PET]) imaging, and cognitive testing.
Main Outcome Measures
Magnetic resonance images were rated for the presence and location of infarct (34 infarct-positive participants, 27 infarct-negative participants) and were used to quantify white matter lesion volume. The PiB-PET uptake ratios were used to create a PiB index by averaging uptake across regions vulnerable to early Aβ deposition; PiB positivity (29 PiB-positive participants, 32 PiB-negative participants) was determined from a data-derived threshold. Standardized composite cognitive measures included executive function and verbal and nonverbal memory.
Vascular brain injury and Aβ were independent in both cognitively normal and impaired participants. Infarction, particularly in cortical and subcortical gray matter, was associated with lower cognitive performance in all domains (P<.05 for all comparisons). Pittsburgh Compound B positivity was neither a significant predictor of cognition nor interacted with VBI.
Conclusions and Relevance
In this elderly sample with normal cognition to mild dementia, enriched for vascular disease, VBI was more influential than Aβ in contemporaneous cognitive function and remained predictive after including the possible influence of Aβ. There was no evidence that VBI increases the likelihood of Aβ deposition. This finding highlights the importance of VBI in mild cognitive impairment and suggests that the impact of cerebrovascular disease should be considered with respect to defining the etiology of mild cognitive impairment.
PMCID: PMC3771392  PMID: 23400560
23.  Association of HIV clinical disease progression with profiles of early immune activation: results from a cluster analysis approach 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(9):1473-1481.
CD4 and CD8 T-cell activation are independent predictors of AIDS. The complete activation profile of both T-cell subtypes and their predictive value for AIDS risk is largely unknown.
A total of 564 AIDS-free women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study were followed over 6.1 years (median) after T-cell activation assessment. A cluster analysis approach was used to evaluate the concurrent activation patterns of CD4 and CD8 T cells at the beginning of follow-up in relation to AIDS progression.
Percentages of CD4 and CD8 T cells with HLA-DR± and CD38± were assessed by flowcytometry. Eight immunologic variables (four on each CD4+ and CD8+: DR± and CD38±) were assessed to yield a 4-cluster solution on samples obtained before clinical endpoints. Proportional hazards survival regression estimated relative risks for AIDS progression by cluster membership.
Compared with the other three clusters, outstanding activation features of each distinct cluster of women were: Cluster 1: higher CD8+CD38– DR– (average = 41% of total CD8 T-cell pool), CD4+CD38– DR– (average = 53% of total CD4 T-cell pool), and CD8+CD38– DR+ (28%); Cluster 2: higher CD8+CD38+DR– (44%) and CD4+CD38+DR– (58%); Cluster 3: higher CD8+CD38+DR+ (49%) and CD4+ CD38+DR– (48%); Cluster 4: higher CD8+CD38+DR+ (49%), CD4+CD38+DR+ (36%) and CD4+CD38– DR+ (19%). Compared with cluster 1, women in cluster 4 had two-fold increased risk of AIDS progression (Hazard ratio = 2.13; 95% confidence interval = 1.30–3.50) adjusted for CD4 cell count, HIV RNA, and other confounders.
A profile including CD4 and CD8 T-cell activation provided insight into HIV pathogenesis indicating concurrent hyperactivation of CD4 and CD8 T cells is associated with AIDS progression.
PMCID: PMC3949252  PMID: 23945505
AIDS; cluster analysis; immune activation
24.  Underlying genetic structure impacts the association between CYP2B6 polymorphisms and response to efavirenz and nevirapine 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(16):2097-2106.
CYP2B6 variation predicts pharmacokinetic characteristics of its substrates. Consideration for underlying genetic structure is critical to protect against spurious associations with the highly polymorphic CYP2B6 gene.
The effect of CYP2B6 variation on response to its substrates, nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), was explored in the Women's Interagency HIV Study.
Five putative functional polymorphisms were tested for associations with virologic suppression within one year after NNRTI initiation in women naïve to antiretroviral agents (n=91). Principal components (PCs) were generated to control for population substructure. Logistic regression was used to test the joint effect of rs3745274 and rs28399499, which together indicate slow, intermediate, and extensive metabolizers.
Rs3745274 was significantly associated with virologic suppression (OR=3.61, 95% CI 1.16-11.22, p trend=0.03); the remaining polymorphisms tested were not significantly associated with response. Women classified as intermediate and slow metabolizers were 2.90 (95% CI 0.79-12.28) and 13.44 (95% CI 1.66-infinity) times as likely to achieve virologic suppression compared to extensive metabolizers after adjustment for PCs (p trend=0.005). Failure to control for genetic ancestry resulted in substantial confounding of the relationship between the metabolizer phenotype and treatment response.
The CYP2B6 metabolizer phenotype was significantly associated with virologic response to NNRTIs; this relationship would have been masked by simple adjustment for self-reported ethnicity. Given the appreciable genetic heterogeneity that exists within self-reported ethnicity, these results exemplify the importance of characterizing underlying genetic structure in pharmacogenetic studies. Further follow-up of the CYP2B6 metabolizer phenotype is warranted given the potential clinical importance of this finding.
PMCID: PMC3940150  PMID: 22951632
CYP2B6; population substructure; women; NNRTIs; confounding
25.  Pioglitazone slows progression of atherosclerosis in prediabetes independent of changes in cardiovascular risk factors 
To determine whether changes in standard and novel risk factors during the ACT NOW trial explained the slower rate of CIMT progression with pioglitazone treatment in persons with prediabetes.
Methods and Results
CIMT was measured in 382 participants at the beginning and up to three additional times during follow-up of the ACT NOW trial. During an average follow-up of 2.3 years, the mean unadjusted annual rate of CIMT progression was significantly (P=0.01) lower with pioglitazone treatment (4.76 × 10−3 mm/year, 95% CI, 2.39 × 10−3 – 7.14 × 10−3 mm/year) compared with placebo (9.69 × 10−3 mm/year, 95% CI, 7.24 × 10−3 – 12.15 × 10−3 mm/year). High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting and 2-hour glucose, HbA1c, fasting insulin, Matsuda insulin sensitivity index, adiponectin and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 levels improved significantly with pioglitazone treatment compared with placebo (P < 0.001). However, the effect of pioglitazone on CIMT progression was not attenuated by multiple methods of adjustment for traditional, metabolic and inflammatory risk factors and concomitant medications, and was independent of changes in risk factors during pioglitazone treatment.
Pioglitazone slowed progression of CIMT, independent of improvement in hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and systemic inflammation in prediabetes. These results suggest a possible direct vascular benefit of pioglitazone.
PMCID: PMC3908828  PMID: 23175674
Carotid atherosclerosis progression; Impaired glucose tolerance; Insulin resistance; Inflammation; Pioglitazone

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